Uzodimma out at IMO Stakeholder Meeting

Through Chuks Osuji

One One of the highlights of the events during the New Year activities from the Imo State Government side was the hosting of the State Stakeholders Meeting. It was an occasion celebrated on two main boards. First, it was the first major speech by Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma in 2022. Second, it was announced that the Governor would use the occasion to name the sponsors of terrorism and insecurity in the state.

It was for this purpose that the event aroused a celebrated expectation as members of the public, especially the Imolites who suffered the major aspect of insecurity in the state, wanted to hear these names mentioned. Much to the chagrin of those present at the stakeholder meeting and other members of the public, the governor did not, could not, and would never mention names. As a political scientist and public opinion analyst, I never believed that a governor would take such a dangerous political path as a state governor. From all over the world, I did not believe at all that he would mention names because I am sure he had a greater wisdom that must not have been perceived by many members of the public.

Honestly and frankly, no governor or leader at his level will embark on this dangerous political path, for to do so would be to inflame the state with endless speculation, name-calling, denials and counter-reports. Moreover, such a mention of names would have triggered many conflicts, lawsuits, etc.

Those in this state and out of it who called the governor all kinds of names for failing to name sponsors and supporters of insecurity in the state are missing the mark. Many IMO citizens and Nigerians, through several comments, speculations, rumours, exhibited certain patterns of behavior which showed that some people must have made a decision as to the direction of the pendulum.

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At this point, I want to throw into the ongoing discourse an important Igbo proverb to make things clear. One day a father took his son to a public gathering of elders. As they sat down, to the amazement of everyone around, the father farted so loudly in everyone’s ears. Spontaneously, in order to drown out the loud noise, the father reproduced a similar noise with his mouth. But his son replied, “Dad, don’t worry, we already know which noise comes from your mouth and which comes from your butt.” Thus, those who wanted the governor to mention the sponsors of insecurity in the state are fault-makers and troublemakers. If the governor disappointed them by not mentioning the names, for me and for many other intellectuals, we know that he showed the wisdom of Solomon. Therefore, they have to count their teeth with their tongue. In a fable told by the Turtle, when confronted with a riddle explaining what he means, he uses the following words: “Tricky, trickery, cunning, cunning, witty and intelligent” and asks his listeners to choose a word that matches their perception.

If the Governor had mentioned these names, he would have opened a box of worms which would have led to an episode of stone throwing. From what I know of Senator Uzodimma, he is a very witty and intelligent person who makes full use of his experience and connections to achieve whatever he wants to do. From the whole episode, what he did was the right thing. However, he had only denounced his advisers who did not prevent him from making such a promise. Perhaps according to Henry Kissinger, “Leaders should rehearse what they are going to say to the public with their best advisers because one of the things that cannot be changed is remembering a spoken word”.

Therefore, if the security officers responsible for identifying these people had done their job very well, we would have saved a lot of armpit sweat for many, other than expecting the Governor to open his mouth wide and names the sponsors of his state’s insecurity. In fact, no government would do such a thing. If he had, of course, people would have applauded him, but for the wrong reason. But the ripple effects would have been severe. Therefore, from my own point of view, he showed intelligence and wisdom.

•Dr. Osuji, the former director of MAMSER for Imo State, writes from Owerri.

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